Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ways to save on Spring Break Travel Plans

Top Ten ways to save

10. Stay in the USA this year for Spring Break
Sure, Cancun or Acapulco are the bomb, but there are also several US spring break destinations that
need to be on your to do list in college – including:
South Padre Island, Texas
Panama City Beach, Florida
Spring Break Ski to Colorado
The reason these destinations are far cheaper is that you don’t need a flight to get there. Is driving
an inconvenience for you? awww…..poor thing! Come on – you’re only young ONCE, and turning
one of these spring break trips into a road trip adventure of a lifetime is really a rite of passage for
college students. Get someone’s car or daddy’s SUV, split the gas up ($50 to $75/person for your
entire transportation cost instead of $500 for a round trip flight is an enormous savings to you.
You can book a spring break package to South Padre with a condo, 2 meals a day, parties at night
plus two side trips for $350 per person. You can also book Cancun with the same inclusions but a
crappy beachfront room for $1000 per person. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see why we are saying to stay in the US for spring break at least this year. The economy will improve, and you can STILL do Cancun next year.

9. Plan as far in advance as you can
Many students incorrectly think that they can get a “last minute spring break deal” to a popular destination.  This is not true. These destinations are highly sought after (hence, popular) and sell out quickly. Student Travel Companies raise prices as they sell out (as do hotels) since supply & demand takes over. If you think about this, it makes sense. If you had a hotel, and had 100 rooms open out of 200, you might have a super low rate. However, if you had just 10 rooms open out of 200 – you really wouldn’t care about selling them all that much – so you would charge an outrageous rate.
With that said, last minute trip planning CAN save you money if you have these 3 criteria going for you:
-You aren’t particular your exact dates of travel nor number of nights
-You are willing to drive a couple of hours to a different departure city airport
-You don’t care exactly where you are going (i.e…tell your travel agent “someplace warm” and you might end up in Phoenix or San Diego – not exactly spring break destinations but it is someplace warm.  Planning as far in advance means flights & hotels have more availability, meaning lower prices. Planning in advance with our student travel company means you also get lower monthly payments, and more time to pay off your trip making it more affordable at the same time as having a lower price – the BEST of both worlds!

8. Bring as many people as you can
Spring Break Travel Companies such as ours are much more aggressive on so-called “group” pricing. Most travel operators like big groups because although the margin is slimmed down, it’s volume which we like.  Planning a trip with 20 people is exponentially cheaper than planning a trip with 2 people. With Inertia Tours we offer a cool job we call “Head Repping” or “Reps” that allow the trip planner or organizer a complimentary trip for every 14 people they bring. On top of that, Inertia offers guarantees group pricing which we honor as one, set price if you get 6 or more people to travel. That helps our Reps since they aren’t selling a trip based on a certain number of people per room. Inertia shoulders that burden.

7. Go for the best overall value instead of simply the lowest trip price
At least with our Company Inertia Tours, you would be buying a complete spring break travel package, not just “airfare & hotel” (in fact we don’t even offer those sorts of trips since they lack any good value).  With a package, you want to make sure you have quality inclusions. If meals are included, where? What is on the menu? If you get a party package, what clubs are included? What side trips? These sorts of questions can flush out important differences between package a & package b.With value goes the number of nights. Many students believe that call us that 5 nights will save them a boat load of cash over going 7 nights – totally false! Most of the cost of our trips comes from the airfare portion, meaning that a roundtrip ticket that keeps you there 3 nights instead of 7 is the exact same price.  Hotels in Mexico & Jamaica are generally low cost – it’s the flight that kills you on price.

6. Consider the All-Inclusive option if you are going to Mexico or Jamaica
If you are traveling internationally to Mexico or Jamaica, seriously consider all inclusive at your hotel for the simple reason that these destinations gouge (charge a lot of money) onsite for meals & drinks when you pay as you go rather than having it all included. An all-inclusive option at the same hotel (meaning all of your drinks & meals are free of charge right at the hotel) costs $300 to $400 more per person for a weeklong trip rather than “just getting a room.” Thing is…that’s $50 a day my friend.  What’s this worth? Let’s break it down to show you how it can save you money. Remember, you have $350 you paid for the all-inclusive option “in the bank” so to speak and the retail value is what the hotel would charge you if you paid as you went.
Retail Value:
Huge Breakfast Buffet $15.00
Bottle of Water $3.00
Poolside Bar Tab for the day
(remember, you are by the pool
10 or so hours a day probably)
2 shots ($6.00)
4 Pina Coladas ($12.00)
1 Coke ($2.00)
3 Coronas ($9.00)
2 Misc. Drinks ($6.00) $35.00
Nachos $10.00
Grilled Chicken Sandwich/Fries $ 7.95
Slice of Cake (you are FUBAR) $ 7.00
Dinner – you go to the order restaurant, have an appetizer,
cesar salad, entree, 2 glasses of wine, plus a drink to go $69.00
1 shot + 1 drink before you go out $ 8.00
1 bottle of water before bed $ 3.00
Total Value that day: $155.00
SAVINGS :(155-50) $95.00
$95 x 6 days (1 is burned traveling) = $570.00 TOTAL SAVINGS
Sure, you might look at this is say “I can’t put 50% of that away” but you’d be surprised – this is a vacation, not you on a pretend Vegan diet at home – and the booze – you are going to sea level so getting a buzz is harder (much, much harder) if you are from a place even at 1500 feet elevation like most of the USA.  Finally, look at those retail prices! Most hotels don’t charge $3 for a bottle of water, nor $4 for shots – can be double that at 5 star resorts.  With this said, we haven’t even brought up the intrinsic value of convenience – going to the bar and ordering a bucket of Coronas so you can slap them down between your two beach chairs on ice is…well…priceless when its already been paid for.  What we are saying is, all inclusive is a better value 100% of the time when traveling internationally on spring break – remember, this is PEAK travel season, there are not “deals” once you arrive – in fact, most bars & restaurant even break out new menus 25% to 50% higher in price than the “off season” – so you pay

5. Consider not staying on the beach
You can save money but not having that spectacular “view” from your beachfront patio – but that might not even matter to you. One of our most popular trips is South Padre Island, Texas for spring break.  In South Padre, it’s not so much you stay on the beach, as you have a big fat condo with room to pre-game & after bar in. You can save $100/person not staying at “the” place on the beach and going with a huge condo at Galleon Bay, for example.
Research off beach properties – but make sure you do a side by side comparison on location to nightlife - we do NOT recommend staying off the beaten path as it’ll suck you dry on taxis – just maybe off the beach.

4. Try these two FILTHY words out for size JOB + BUDGETING
Ok, dirty word number one, the part time job. If you don’t have one, get one. Think $9 per hour – there are a MILLION jobs out there for $9 an hour. With our $350 complete road trip to Padre in mind, that’s $350 for the condo, meals, & parties, and $50 in gas. That’s $400 you need in cash — since Uncle Sam takes 20%, we need to think about you making $480. Can you pull off working 53 hours? If you can – that’s your trip. Stop thinking you are “too good” for some retail work. Your granddaddy had much worse jobs than you have. Yours will be clean, it will be respectful, and you’ll probably learn something. It might parlay into a full time gig, too with a promotion. Companies “aren’t hiring” recent college grads because they don’t need to – they are hiring their part time help full time.
But Inertia Chad, I HAVE a job, and I have nothing left over!! I’m working 30+ hours per week and I even make $11 an hour! This won’t work! Really? For ONE WEEK write down EVERY SINGLE thing you spend money on. It’ll be so easy to scratch off stuff you don’t need (this is called a budget if you haven’t did it before) that you can not spend money on. STOP going out to the bars Wed-Sunday. Try one night, and get wasted before you go. This alone will save you $100/week. 4 weeks = spring break trip.

3. Don’t get sucked into gimmicks & scams to save money
This should go without saying, but as much as 10% of the population will accept anything you tell them as a fact without considering all the consequences. One popular scam right now is an alleged discount off your spring break trip price if you sign up for some credit card. The offer is laughable, at best. First of all, credit markets are tight. You aren’t getting approved – and when you don’t, that discount of 100 bucks or whatever disappears. There isn’t an offer of a refund if you don’t. $100 or $150 off of a $400 trip is unreasonable. You know it, and so do we. Be a smart shopper. Get trip price quotes & inclusions in writing, with all possible fees listed. Get a full time, corporate employee of that travel firm to guarantee this price via email (not a student rep no matter how good you know them that can change the facts later).  Other scams we see as travel agents are the “travel certificate” offers. Luckily, the Attorney Generals offices have shut almost all of these gimmicks down. The gimmick involves you getting “free” travel to some great place – for a small “processing fee” (which is anything but small, at the end, usually about $200/person) and then finding out you can use it in September Monday-Wednesday (Thanks!).
Another abused scam is “price matching” or “price busting” or whatever marketing name they give it. The hope here is to present you as a consumer with a full retail (higher) price, but, after shopping around, you find them uncompetitive, they will beat that competitor’s price. On the surface, this sounds appealing, right? You shop & shop for a sweet price, it’s just a hotel room & airfare after all, right? Apples to apples! Price is all that matters. WRONG. FALSE. INCORRECT. You should be following our advice & getting a package, not airfare & hotel. Travel as an industry as incorrectly marketed itself like Wal Mart “low price!” – this is a vacation, not a can of Coca Cola folks. Lots of package inclusions can differ – you need to sniff those out first.  The whole thing here is this – you are a college student. This means you are learning things and people make mistakes. If the offer sounds too good to be true – come on – it is – businesses are not the church, they do this to make money, and for profit. Sometimes, shady people cut corners and we don’t want to see you harmed over this.

2. Watch the Fees that can get tacked on
We already stated this, but the way to nail a travel company down to a price is actually really, really easy.  If they won’t follow this “game plan” on a price, it’s real simple – book someplace that will so you won’t be disappointed. Generally, a bunch of you are going, and if you are the one reading this you are probably either researching information to make an informed decision, or you have post-purchase dissonance and are trying to reassure yourself you made the right choice.
Email them for a price quote. Get what it includes, with the who, what, where, why, when all answered.  Free meals included? Awesome. What restaurant? What hours? What are the choices? Do they still charge a tax/tip fee? Is it all gross fast food?  Specifically ask in writing, WHEN I CHECK IN, will I be required to pay any more money? Here is a list of fees that tour companies can say “is not THEIR fee, and therefore not disclosed:
*Security or Condo Wristband Fee – $10-$35 per person
*”Refundable” Damage deposits at check in – $50 to $100 per person , IN CASH
(guess what happens when you check out – suddenly you have to wait for a check to
come back to you that never does) on a $350 trip, this is a 15% surcharge
*”Non-refundable security fee” – We won’t mention the Oasis Cancun by name, but it’s $27/person
due when you check in.
*VIP Party Packages – sometimes not disclosed just to get you to buy a trip, and then you realize
that without one is $10-$50/night for cover charge – and this unexpected expense can tap you out
THE WORST OFFENDERS:
*Fuel Surcharge/Security Fees (by the way, if you get charged these fees on a commercial flight (not a charter) complain to the FTC (federal trade commission), the BBB (better business bureau) and
the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) – you’ve been scammed! It’s illegal to charge a security
surcharge, and it’s certainly not permitted to charge a fuel surcharge on a regularly scheduled
commercial flight unless the airline itself imposes the fee. If your dad is a lawyer, sue – you’ll win.
*Baggage Fees -we expect this year the naughty little secret to be excessive fees for checked bags
— after all, airlines are ALL charging baggage fees. If you have a privately chartered aircraft, that
travel company has already paid for the fuel. If they charge you to check bags, it’s going right into their pockets. WE FULLY EXPECT some gnarly, hidden baggage fees. $25 first bag & $50 second bag would be the minimums we’d expect -and that’s payable EACH WAY!!!! GET IN WRITING what the baggage fees are going to be if you are flying.

1. Book a complete spring break travel package – not just “hotel” or “air + hotel”
Whether you book with Inertia Tours or not – get a specialized company that will package together popular travel inclusions to save you money. Airfare, Hotel, airport transfers (you might not have thought of these @$50/person) meals included (can save you $100/person) and maybe an onsite discount program (coupons) can add up to $200 or even $300 in savings – not to mention you’ll probably have onsite staff people down their to ask questions or advice from. Getting a party package from a travel company (don’t buy it anywhere else – tons of fake MTV people rolling around selling crappy parties) is a SMART idea. Bundling this service will save you a ton of cash overall – meaning great value.  What matters is the overall amount of money you spend, not how much your “air + hotel” is. That’s usually only 50-60% of the total money required to travel – and people oftentimes don’t think about that.

If you would like specific advice or information on spring break travel, email me chad@inertiatours.com – I’ll do all I can to assist you with the best possible information, or call me 800 821 2176 InertiaTours   YouTube